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Trip Report: Hiking Arizona's Highest Point, Humphrey's Peak


Dec 21st, 2012, 11:35 AM
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Trip Report: Hiking Arizona's Highest Point, Humphrey's Peak

My husband and I got into state high points a few years ago, so every time we have an opportunity, we hike (or drive) to a state high point. Since we were in Arizona this past September visiting the Grand Canyon, we decided to spend a few days in Flagstaff and take on Humphrey's Peak.

First, the information we’d gotten off the internet was slightly inaccurate. Instead of being able to park at the stop of the ski resort, there was major construction underway there. So we had to park at the next lower level parking area which added at least another half mile round trip to our hike…a psychological blow at the beginning of what was already going to be a very tough hike!

Humphrey’s Peak sits at 12,637 feet and from the ski resort, the elevation gain is over 3,300 feet. The first section takes you on switchbacks through an old growth forest with lots of rock and exposed root along the trail and a section of trail where a rockslide passed through. Once you emerge and are on the saddle, you’ll have spectacular views.

While we were hiking up through the woods, four young men stopped to talk to us while we were taking a snack break. It was the first hike up to Humphrey’s for two of them and for us, so we were all pretty pumped. They went on ahead and we soon forged on. My husband and I are pretty good hikers and we could see them in our sights on the trail as we hiked on up to the saddle, which is where we encountered them again as they were taking a break.

This is where the trail gets really hard. From here, the last mile of trial involves climbing over a lot of boulders and loose scree. Finding the trail would be next to impossible if it weren’t for poles that have been strategically placed to help you stay on “trail”. The four young men started out ahead of us and that’s when they turned on the afterburners and were at the summit pretty quickly. Once we arrived at the top, we told them how impressed we were at how effortless they made it look. That’s when we found out they were “fire jumpers” for the park service and were out training for the day. Made me feel lots better!!

We had a perfect sunny day for our summit, with 360 degree views. There was even a wooden bench at the top...how (and why) in the world did it get up there?

As a side note, Flagstaff has to be one of the friendliest towns we've ever had the pleasure of visiting. Everyone was super nice and went out of their way to make our stay memorable. I would highly recommend a restaurant called 1899 Bar and Grille – great craft beers on tap and the most unique and tasty wings I’ve ever had.

For more details and pictures of our hike up Humphrey's Peak, check out our blog:

wave725 is offline  
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Dec 21st, 2012, 12:48 PM
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Just curious as to which states you've done this in?
I've done 3 or 4 of them
spirobulldog is offline  
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Dec 21st, 2012, 02:54 PM
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I am impressed! Thanks for the pics, too. Have you done any of Colorado's peaks?
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Dec 21st, 2012, 05:03 PM
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Wow, we live at sea level and start to suck wind at about 5000 feet, I'm really impressed that you've hiked to the at such altitudes. \\Thanks for the report.
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Dec 22nd, 2012, 07:23 AM
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spirobulldog: We've hiked the high points of 8 states: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont and Georgia. Plus, we've driven to 8 state high points.

Even though Mt. Elbert is almost at 14,500 feet,and was definitely tough, for me the hardest so far has been Wheeler Peek in New Mexico. Mostly because we had planned to be in Santa Fe & Taos at least a week to acclimate before our hike, but fires nearby threatened to shut down that area to hiking. So we were forced on day 2 to make the hike on a day with very, very strong winds. Once we were out of the tree lines, the wind beat us up. The winds were so bad, on the spine section of Wheeler Peek, my husband had to hold onto me because the winds kept throwing me off balance. Then some altitude sickness by way of major headache and stomach ache kicked in on the hike down. It was certainly an epic hike!

Which ones have you hiked?
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Dec 22nd, 2012, 09:14 AM
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Our boy scout troop went to climb the peak in Nov. 50 years ago . The 4 youngest of us plus one leader stopped part way up - the snow was a couple of feet deep. We made a lean-to, started a campfire and had a good time. The rest of the troop made it to the saddle where they camped out and then finished it the next day.
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Dec 22nd, 2012, 01:25 PM
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Sounds like a great boy scout experience!
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